We get this question really often, “what tools did you use to grow Xtendly by over 4x in less than 3 years?”
Not only do we love to help our client’s grow, we love to help them scale so that they can grow more profitably.
In today’s world of technology, it makes it easier for entrepreneurs, small businesses and startups to succeed with the democratization of software. In fact, we’re a living and thriving example of this phenomenon. As a multi-six figure revenue business, we spend an estimated $1,200 a month on software to run our business. Ten years ago, that would be impossible.
Since many of you all are entrepreneurs and owners of startup companies, you know very well, running and scaling a business can be an all-consuming and expensive endeavor if you wanna grow. There are gazillion things to keep track of, follow up, prioritize, and check off their many to-do lists.
Thankfully, there are software apps designed to help streamline your business by enabling you and your collaborators to work more efficiently.
Here are six software apps that we use and that we feel every entrepreneur would need for his or her business (Note: these apps are available for laptop (Windows and Mac), iOS and Android mobile platforms):
Trello, on its website, describes itself as a visual collaborative tool. Trello uses boards, lists, and cards to organize your project or task. Think of Trello as a giant whiteboard (your project/task). You draw boxes like “Ideas”, “To Do”, etc. to break down your project/task. You write down lists for the details of each box.
As shown above, Trello provides information at a glance of your project/task. You can drill down to the details to add attachments, write comments, to name a few. Trello allows you to add as many members so that your team can keep track of what’s going on with your current project or task, so you can all stay on the same page. Trello provides its users with many resources to help you get started. Check out their own blog for ideas and inspiration. Trello comes both in free and paid versions with Trello Business Class version costs $9.99 per user / month. Companies that use Trello include Google, Kickstarter, Adobe, and Pixar.
Buffer is a social media management app that allows you to share content across all social channels like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram regularly, thereby allowing you to focus your messages consistently and on a regular basis. Say you found some interesting articles that you would like to share with your followers. With Buffer, you can spend some time to queue them all up, and Buffer will take care of sending them according to the schedule you’ve set. Buffer ensures that your posts get delivered, thus keeping your followers informed all day long. Buffer has a great blog which is a great resource, especially for someone who is just starting out. Buffer offers both free and paid versions, and has a 14-day trial for their business version.
Ever need a quick way to get in touch with your staff? Enter Slack, an instant messaging app designed for the workplace. It’s a powerful tool that enables teams to communicate either one-on-one or as a whole across multiple platforms (PCs, iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Android devices). You can upload and share files, and integrate other apps like Skype to make video calls. Slack has both the free and paid versions. The free version is fairly robust, with great features including: searchable message archives up to 10,000 of the team’s most recent messages, 10 apps or service integrations, two-person voice and video calls, 5GB file storage for the team, and two-factor authentication (security). The paid version comes in 3-tiers, starting from $6.67 per user / month.
If you’re looking for an app that’s robust, versatile, and will grow along with your business, consider Insightly, an all-in-one CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and project management tool. Designed for small to midsized companies, Insightly provides a way to manage projects, keep track of contacts, communications, sales, tasks, documents, and run company reports in one neat package. Insightly can also seamlessly connect with popular online applications such as Google Calendar, Gmail, Google Docs, Outlook 2013, MailChimp, Evernote, Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, QuickBooks online, and many more. Insightly comes in a free version and the paid versions starts at $12 per user / month. All paid versions offer a 14-day free trial period, and you can switch to any plan (including the free version) at any time.
We’ve all been there before, struggling to manage all our passwords, and wonder if there’s a much safer alternative. LastPass is a secure login and password generation app that saves all your usernames and passwords into one secure online vault and access using one strong master password. When you’re using a desktop/laptop, install the LastPass extension in your favorite browser for saving and accessing your passwords. LastPass is compatible with Safari, Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Explorer, Firefox, and Opera. For mobile devices, just download the app and will be backed up and synced across all platforms. LastPass has free and Premium versions, and offers a Business version starting at $2.42 per user / month.
6. Google Calendar
You may be wondering why a calendar app, right? Well, Google calendar does the job and is well-suited for anyone, including busy entrepreneurs and startup business owners. Key features are: easy and neat design, ability to pick a calendar view that you like (daily, weekly, or monthly), ability to share your calendar with others, able to easily send invites, syncs beautifully with all devices, and most importantly, ability to send reminder notifications so you do not miss any meetings, conference calls, luncheons, or dinners.
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